Entrepreneurial Inertia

I spend a lot of time talking to students that are thinking about starting a company.  In the course of speaking with hundreds of young, potential entrepreneurs, the three same hurdles appear over and over again to explain why someone hasn’t started their idea. Understanding that most people won’t/shouldn’t be entrepreneurs, it doesn’t “bother” me to hear these excuses as I think it’s a good filtering mechanism for those that really want to pursue their idea.  However, I think it’s useful to put them out there to challenge those that really do want to start something.

Don’t know enough. This is the biggest roadblock for most people.  Yet, this should be the one that most people need to overcome the quickest.  The dirty little secret of the business world is that the majority of us don’t know what we’re doing.   If you wait until you know everything you need, you’ll never start.  Those that become successful do it by starting.  Learn along the way.   You certainly need to be well-versed in whatever field you’re starting a business.  But knowledge of most other things that dominate your time simply comes by doing.

Don’t have time.  This is the excuse that pains me the most from college students.  As a college student, you have theoretically unlimited free time, the ability to largely control your schedule and do what you chose. You have the least risk of any group of entrepreneurs (typically not married, no kids, good health and no mortgage hanging over your head).  When I hear this excuse, it’s a nice filter to recognize that someone isn’t serious about pursuing their idea.

Don’t have money. Just like “don’t know enough” this is a never ending struggle.  You’ll never have the money you need to accomplish what you want.  If you’re doing it right, you’ll constantly be searching for more cash, more customers and more money.  The challenge of money is that it is an easy roadblock, but I think some of the best companies started with minimal cash and focused on providing a product that people would pay for.  From modest beginnings, bigger ideas grow.

Recognize that excuses are natural.  Starting a company is scary.  Having an excuse that sounds legitimate (like above) is a comforting way to put off doing.  If you want to build something big, you need to start. Overcoming hurdles through pure grit is crucial to your success.  Don’t let these three excuses limit you.

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